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Seeking Advice--$1,450-1,650--Gaming Build

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March 29, 2012 9:43:53 PM

Approximate Purchase Date: Sometime within the next two months. Probably gonna buy 1-2 parts per week depending on a number of factors. Also, the original date (5/29/12) was to allow some time for the gtx 680s to come back in stock, in a good brand anyways.

Budget Range: $1,450-1,650 After Rebates

System Usage from Most to Least Important: 75% Gaming 25% Web browsing ETC.

Parts Not Required: keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: newegg.com

Country: US

Parts Preferences: leaning towards Nvidia GPU, but open to different insights and experiences

Overclocking: Yes, after warranties are up, although I have to learn how first

SLI or Crossfire: Yes, after tech prices drop a bit

Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080

Additional Comments: This will be my first build. I'm open to any and all advice. I'm looking for minute detail stuff also, like how to get it a lil' quieter and cooler without having to do liquid cooling. Also looking for advice on how to get similar performance while maintaining a great upgrade path, for cheaper, if possible. I also have some questions outright.

I do plan to go SLI once the tech drops a bit, (don't know why, just because) will the Mid-tower case be large enough to accommodate the bulk of another card? I've also read newbies (aka 1st time builders) need a big tower to fumble around with, because they make a mess of the wiring. Is there any truth to that.

Also, is an SSD now a staple component of a gaming system? Is it really that much faster that a 7200rpm HDD?

Anyway, this is the build I'm currently looking at:

Case: COOLER MASTER HAF 922 RC-922M-KKN1-GP Black Steel + Plastic and Mesh Bezel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Mobo: ASRock Z68 Extreme3 Gen3 LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CPU: Intel Core i5-2500K Sandy Bridge 3.3GHz (3.7GHz Turbo Boost) LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor Intel HD Graphics 3000 BX80623I52500K http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CPU Cooler: COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 EVO RR-212E-20PK-R2 Continuous Direct Contact 120mm Sleeve CPU Cooler Compatible with latest Intel 2011/1366/1155 and AMD FM1/AM3+ http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

GPU: EVGA 02G-P4-2680-KR GeForce GTX 680 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Memory: CORSAIR Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model CMZ8GX3M2A1600C9R http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

PSU: OCZ ZT Series 750W Fully-Modular 80PLUS Bronze High Performance Power Supply compatible with Intel Sandy Bridge Core i3 i5 i7 and AMD Phenom http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

SSD: Crucial M4 CT128M4SSD2BAA 2.5" 128GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

HDD: Western Digital RE4 WD5003ABYX 500GB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CD/DVD Drive: SONY Black 18X DVD-ROM 48X CD-ROM SATA DVD-ROM Drive Model DDU1681S-0B - OEM http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

SATA Cable: BYTECC Model SATA-118C 18" Serial ATA-150/300 Cable w/Locking Latch http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

OS: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64-bit - OEM http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Wish List: http://secure.newegg.com/WishList/PublicWishDetail.aspx...

Edited: for bad links (hope these are up to snuff).


Thanks for any help!
March 29, 2012 9:45:05 PM

Is that 5/29/12? If so, wait until like the 20th to post. Things can vary over 2 months.
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March 29, 2012 10:20:23 PM

Added some clarification to the purchase date.
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March 29, 2012 10:51:48 PM

kwb said:
Added some clarification to the purchase date.

Can't get in your link.
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March 29, 2012 11:12:26 PM

Working on it now.

Edit: That's weird, I've got checked as public, but I can't find it in the search list either.

Updated the OP with parts links.
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March 30, 2012 8:19:14 PM

Are my links ok now, or no?
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March 30, 2012 8:30:25 PM

The 2500K>2550K, get 4GB of RAM, and a different HDD. Never get WD Green. Notoriously high failure rate.
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Best solution

March 30, 2012 8:52:01 PM

kwb said:
Are my links ok now, or no?

Everything's working - both with your links and your build. Since there is only a $10.00 difference I'd say stay with the 2550. If it were much more than that you'd be better off with the 2500. Yes an SSD is much faster than a 7200. You will not believe the boot times. If you can swing a 128gb and load your games on it they will load much faster also, but having just the OS on a 64gb is fine too. You'll be amazed. I would go for a "non" green HDD though. They are green because they are slow. After the prices come down on the HDD's I'd go with a 1-2TB model. Good luck with your build. :) 
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March 30, 2012 8:56:47 PM

Just so I'm clear - you are aware that the 2550 has no IGPU right. If your GPU goes down you'll be blind (so to speak) unless you have another "standby" gpu to take it's place. If you don't have a backup maybe you should go with the 2500. 100GHz is not that big a deal.
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March 30, 2012 9:05:15 PM

I'm liking the 128gb SSD idea, that would be a good quality of life change. Also seems like you and Osama share the same opinion on the HDD, I will swap them out and update the OP. Do you think the power supply will be fine, when I go SLI in the future. I've read that a good 750W psu will fire two 680s while OCing, with juice left to spare, but I thought I'd ask to be doubly sure.
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March 30, 2012 10:09:58 PM

kwb said:
I'm liking the 128gb SSD idea, that would be a good quality of life change. Do you think the power supply will be fine, when I go SLI in the future. I've read that a good 750W psu will fire two 680s with juice left to spare, but I thought I'd ask to be doubly sure.

The power supply should be fine. The Haf cases are built for cable management so just take your time and the smaller mid-tower won't be a problem (I've got the 912). I've built in both and full tower is roomy. There should be some video's on youtube showing builds on that case - watch them and they'll give you some tips and maybe some ideas. Watch a couple systems being put together - just to get comfortable with it. You'll be fine. Good luck with it!
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March 30, 2012 10:40:46 PM

Thanks Chaz21, you've been very helpful. I took a few deep breaths and ordered the case. Here we go!
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March 30, 2012 11:51:30 PM

kwb said:
Thanks Chaz21, you've been very helpful. I took a few deep breaths and ordered the case. Here we go!

Enjoy the experience (and welcome to the "club")! :D 
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March 31, 2012 11:03:34 AM

I noticed that Newegg only has a few CD/DVD drives to choose from, is there any one in particular that you've had good success with?
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March 31, 2012 1:05:58 PM

my suggession for your budget

http://secure.newegg.com/WishList/PublicWishDetail.aspx...

the i5 2550k is a waste of money.

the multiplier of 2500k is increased by 1 and the integrated gpu is disabled for a few bucks more :pfff: 

crucial is one of the most reliable ssd on market after intel which is costly.

a 950w 80+ silver and has warrenty of 4 years.

i changed the case as a case without dust filters will choke up the fans and heatseanks of cpu and gpu thus slowing down and over heating .

a mid tower can accomodate 3 gpus easily.

the motherboard is the best for its value and uses high quality components. also it is the brother company of asus.

i included a 2tb hdd which will give you enough space to fill it with games , moves , music , etc.

the hyper 212 evo is the best rated cpu cooler for its price and performance it provides.

it can oc i5 2500k to 4.5 without breaking a breath.

TOTAL ~$1500 :D 
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March 31, 2012 2:07:21 PM

I think you're right about the quality of Crucial, I read some good reviews. I may end up going with that SSD, even though it is a lil' more expensive. Could you elaborate on the motherboard a bit, just a brief summary of why it's better. I looked at both, but couldn't see why the ASRock was better, I'd attribute it to a lack of knowledge, but hey, I'm learning. I also think you're probably right about the 2500k, I've now read the the 2550k overclocks the same as the 2500k, for $10 more, plus the loss of the IGPU. I have a few older GPUs laying around, but that still strikes me as a raw deal.
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March 31, 2012 2:13:16 PM

it has gold capacitors. it is one of the cheapest and best mobo to have usb 3.0 , sli support and great overclockability.

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March 31, 2012 2:31:47 PM

serialkiller said:
it has gold capacitors. it is one of the cheapest and best mobo to have usb 3.0 , sli support and great overclockability.


Ok, thanks.
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March 31, 2012 3:16:05 PM

kwb said:
I noticed that Newegg only has a few CD/DVD drives to choose from, is there any one in particular that you've had good success with?

I've use(d) Samsung, Sony, MSI - they all did what they are supposed to do (which now-a-days isn't much unless you're burning something). Some are noiser than others but really you are not going to use it a lot so that shouldn't matter. Just get a "good" name and you'll be fine. The speeds don't really matter either 'cause if you are burning something and you want it to turn out right you're going to burn it at a slow speed anyway.
Blu-Rays I don''t know too much about (but I'm sure I will sooner rather than later - progress you know).
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March 31, 2012 3:29:25 PM

kwb said:
I think you're right about the quality of Crucial, I read some good reviews. I may end up going with that SSD, even though it is a lil' more expensive. Could you elaborate on the motherboard a bit, just a brief summary of why it's better. I looked at both, but couldn't see why the ASRock was better, I'd attribute it to a lack of knowledge, but hey, I'm learning. I also think you're probably right about the 2500k, I've now read the the 2550k overclocks the same as the 2500k, for $10 more, plus the loss of the IGPU. I have a few older GPUs laying around, but that still strikes me as a raw deal.

I like to give as much information to someone who asked as I can, unlike some who just say buy this (usually because that's what they have). I'm happy though that you chose the 2500k (and not just because that's what I have). You made your own decision based on your investigation instead of because someone told you to. That's how you learn. Good for you! :) 
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March 31, 2012 4:57:16 PM

Chaz21 said:
I've use(d) Samsung, Sony, MSI - they all did what they are supposed to do (which now-a-days isn't much unless you're burning something). Some are noiser than others but really you are not going to use it a lot so that shouldn't matter. Just get a "good" name and you'll be fine. The speeds don't really matter either 'cause if you are burning something and you want it to turn out right you're going to burn it at a slow speed anyway.
Blu-Rays I don''t know too much about (but I'm sure I will sooner rather than later - progress you know).


Thanks. And thanks everyone, for all the help so far! I've up dated the the OP with a CD/DVD drive and SATA cable. Also, I'm considering the CPU cooler.

EDIT: Looks like the wish list may be working now, maybe it just took some time to register with Newegg. I've updated the OP with it.
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April 1, 2012 6:35:09 PM

Decided to go ahead and add the 212 EVO CPU cooler to the build for OC/future OCing needs. Also, updated the OP to reflect that. A couple quick questions: the first review I read for the 212 EVO said that it was huge and that I'd need a full tower to fit it, I feel like this is an exaggeration, but thought I'd ask to be sure, given I've ordered the HAF 922.

My next problem: I've read a few articles that have conflicting opinions on whether or not it's best practice to use an aftermarket thermal paste like Arctic Silver 5 on the heat sink, and even more disarray on whether or not to use the removal solutions. I'm hoping you guys can shed some light on whether or not the after market grease/removal solutions are really better/worth the additional expense.

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April 1, 2012 6:39:22 PM

Do not take newegg reviews seriously. They are mostly a bunch of babies. As long as the height of the case with the MOBO installed isn't lower than the height of the EVO, it will fit. In the HAF 922's case, it will fit.
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April 1, 2012 9:31:16 PM

Thanks azeem. Any advice on how useful aftermarket thermal paste and removal solutions actually are?
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April 1, 2012 11:56:33 PM

The paste is mainly for reapplication.
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April 2, 2012 1:01:39 AM

I see, thank you.
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April 2, 2012 9:17:46 PM

Wow, couldn't ask for a more detailed guide, thanks.
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April 2, 2012 9:23:29 PM

kwb said:
Wow, couldn't ask for a more detailed guide, thanks.

My pleasure. Good luck with your build.
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April 7, 2012 1:16:19 AM

Best answer selected by kwb.
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